River Clyde Homes. Sundry Debt and Former Tenant Arrears Recovery Policy. Approved: Oct Review date: Oct

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1 River Clyde Homes Sundry Debt and Former Tenant Arrears Recovery Policy Approved: Oct Review date: Oct This policy can be made available on request in a variety of different formats, such as on tape, in large print and translated into other languages. This will be made available by River Clyde Homes at no additional charge. If you, or anyone you know, would benefit from this, please advise a please contact Lawrence Pavia on or by at Page 1

2 Contents 1.0 Statement of objectives Page Compliance with Scottish Social Housing Charter s outcomes and Page 3 standards 3.0 Debt Recovery Policy Page Sundry Debts Recovery Page Former Tenant Arrears Recovery (without a current tenancy) Page Disputed Debts Additional Measures Applying to Factoring Service Debts Page 5 Page 2

3 River Clyde Homes Sundry Debt / Former Tenant Arrears Policy Approved on. Review date 1.0 Statement of objectives 1.1 The Objectives of this policy are to set out River Clyde Homes ( RCH ) debt recovery policy for both sundry debts and former tenant arrears (where there is no current tenancy). This will ensure that RCH minimises the level of debt by adopting early intervention and applying clear and systematic procedures when default occurs to ensure that a payment culture is widely promoted. This policy will maximise debt recovery rates with minimal costs to the organisation. 2.0 Compliance with Performance Standards 2.1 This policy takes account of a number of the Scottish Social Housing Charter s outcomes and standards [including equalities, communication and value for money) Debt Recovery Policy Sundry Debts Recovery If any debt remains outstanding, an automatic first reminder will be sent to the debtor 14 calendar days after the due date of the invoice. If the debtor fails to contact RCH, to either clear the debt or make an acceptable arrangement, a second and final reminder shall be issued to the debtor 21 days after the due date of the invoice. If no contact is made to RCH, to either clear the debt or make an acceptable arrangement, the debtor s details may be passed to a local Sheriff Officer who will hand deliver a demand for payment stating that payment must be made within 7 Page 3

4 days or this debt will be passed onto a debt collection agency. This measure shall only be carried out if the debt outstanding is higher than the fees payable to the Sheriff Officer. If no contact is made to RCH, to either clear the debt or make an acceptable arrangement after the 7 days have passed, a Notice to Quit shall be served if the debt type is appropriate e.g. garage arrears. If the debt is not financially viable to pursue due to the size of the debt being less than the cost of recovery, a proposal will be sent to the Head of Corporate Services to write this debt off. If the debt is financially viable to pursue, the debt may be passed to either a debt collection agency or RCH s legal team on a quarterly basis. The debt collection agency would be expected to retain a percentage of whatever they collect, normally 20-30%. If the debt collector is not successful in either recovering the full payment or making an acceptable arrangement then this debt will be passed back to RCH and a proposal will be sent to the Head of Corporate Services to write this debt off. If at anytime during this process it is discovered that the debtor no longer lives at the address held in RCH s records and RCH have tried all reasonable means available to it to trace the new address, such debts will be passed to a debt collection agency to carry out their trace and collect service. 3.2 Former Tenants Arrears Recovery (without a current tenancy) As above and if financially viable to pursue, RCH will utilise the services of a local Sheriff Officer and a debt collection agency once it has exhausted all avenues available to it. RCH will identify if there is a forwarding address for the former tenant. If RCH has a forwarding address, a first reminder shall be sent out 2 weeks after the former tenant vacates the property to ensure any housing benefit amendments are taken account of. If no contact is made to RCH, a second reminder shall be sent one month after the first reminder and a third and final reminder shall be issued one month later again. Page 4

5 Phone calls shall also be made throughout this process if such contact details are available to RCH. If not financially viable to pursue due to the size of the debt being less than the cost of recovery, a proposal will be sent to the Head of Corporate Services to write this debt off. If the debt is financially viable to pursue, the debt may be passed to either a debt collection agency or RCH s legal team on a quarterly basis The debt collection agency will retain a percentage of whatever they collect, normally 20-30%. If the debt collector or RCH s legal team are not successful in either recovering the full payment or making an arrangement then a proposal will be sent to the Head of Corporate Services to write this debt off. If there is no forwarding address, and RCH has tried all reasonable means available to it to trace the new address, such debts will be passed to a debt collection agency to carry out their trace and collect service. 3.3 Disputed Debts All invoices that are disputed shall be flagged as not requiring further action at this time on the appropriate debtor system to ensure reminders are not issued. If an invoice is flagged as being in dispute then: a) a clear reason for the dispute shall be recorded; b) every reasonable effort to resolve the dispute shall be made at the earliest opportunity; c) any obstacles to partial or full payment shall be explored and noted. RCH shall aim to resolve disputes within 10 business days. Where this is not possible, close monitoring should follow with the objective of resolving within 20 business days. Any disputed debt relating to RCH s factoring service which is accepted for investigation by the homeowner housing panel and referred to a homeowner housing committee shall not have any interest or late payment charges applied in respect of the disputed Page 5

6 item during the period that the committee is considering the case. 3.4 Additional Measures Applying to Factoring Debts Factoring accounts will be issued quarterly for the management fees and service charges. A separate account will be issued for investment/major repairs work following financial completion of the works. Due to the larger sums involved, factoring customers may request payment arrangements by instalments. RCH will fully consider each such request including such factors as the instalment amount offered, frequency of proposed payments and the likelihood of a customer meeting the arrangement and shall in each case ensure that that the debtor enters into a repayment agreement provided by RCH. Any repayment agreement shall be in accordance with the following criteria: Debts of 500 and under shall be repayable within 12 months but shall bear no interest; Debts of over 500 and up to 5,000 shall be repayable within 24 months and shall bear interest at the rate of 4.69% or the rate applicable. Any such debts paid within one year shall not bear any interest. Debts of over 5,000 shall be repayable within 36 months and shall bear interest at the rate of 4.69% or the rate applicable. Any such debts paid within one year shall not bear any interest. The above only applies if the repayment arrangement for regular payments is maintained throughout the repayment period. The interest rate of 4.69% is the cost to RCH of borrowing money under its current loan agreement, which RCH will seek to recover from debtors when debts are not paid promptly in accordance with the above criteria. The interest could vary depending on any changes to the loan arrangement. If RCH is unable to accept a proposed instalment arrangement the officer shall give Page 6

7 a clear explanation of those reasons to the customer. In circumstances where the factoring customer anticipates or encounters difficulties in paying any invoice RCH may provide the costs of the relevant works to the homeowners by way of an interest bearing loan subject to the homeowner(s) entering into a legal agreement with RCH (on RCH s prescribed terms) and the homeowner(s) providing RCH with a valid standard security over their property with such standard security being repayable in the event of a Repayment Event as defined in the legal agreement relating to the loan. Page 7

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